I want to learn french from scratch

Hi everyone, I want to learn French but I will start from scratch. Is there any starter-book which I can use to begin?

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Just start reading and translating words on here.


Steve Kaufmann recommends the Mini-Stories, which were created to introduce beginners to their target language. For grammar he recommends the Dover Thrift paperback

I like Alice Ayel’s story lessons for the Beginner 2 level.

LingQ provides a huge amount of content. Poke around on the Lessons page for lessons that look interesting and not too advanced.

have tested this course . It’s really good and done by the best institution in France to learn French it’s the Alliance Francaise.

Beware once connected there are many many courses. You should look for:

Vivre en France - A1 - Cours - FUN MOOC


There is a course for A1, another one for A2 and a third one for B1.

There is a lot of content in a course. They have a way to track your progress.

They give your resources for vocabulary, grammar and phonetics for the lesson.

It would be good for you also to look for video explaining how to read. IT’s not at all obvious how to do it in French.

If you’ve never learned a language as an adult before, the Coffee Break French podcast might be ideal. Otherwise, I’m sure you can find lots of beginner videos on YouTube. After that, find dialogues where they talk about everyday type things, with transcripts, and just go through the transcript and listen to them repeatedly.

For quite some time, you will do some translating in your head, but stick with it and that’ll slowly fade away. You’ll find you’ll translate the things that are the hardest to understand, which basically means everything when you first start, but it gets better. There’s no magic pill for that BTW, automaticity comes naturally with time.

It’s quite OK to get brief grammar explanations, but don’t expect to understand the majority of them until you’re already quite fluent, in terms of what you can understand of the spoken/written language. Just keep them brief and don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t make sense, it will eventually. In fact, if something is too difficult, just let it go and understand that it’ll eventually seem like a simple concept once you’ve built a model (largely subconscious) in your brain of how the language works (via massive input).


luckily, French is one of the languages with an oversupply of content at all levels. There are guided courses for the very beginner level, but with a highly predictable (and similar to English) word order, as well as by far our closest language in terms of vocabulary, you can get to the mini-stories pretty quickly. Alice Ayel, as someone else mentioned, has a great guided set of mini-stories of her own (dare I say more interesting, if less deliberate in covering all aspects of the grammar in the minimum time). For low intermediate level I used a lot of wikipedia until I could find more organic material, essays, books, etc ted talks, that I could stand. If you want to learn a language from scratch for the first time as an adult, French is probably the best /most inviting one. The pronunciation is harder but I think it is an easier language as you round your way into intermediate than is Spanish


In addition to using LingQ for German I’m also currently doing it on https://www.languagetransfer.org/

They’ve also got French, and it’s all free. Very similar to the Michel Thomas style of piecing together sentences on your own.


I second the Short Stories on LingQ. French is in many ways an easy language. We share huge amounts of vocabulary, word order is similar and the grammar is not so hard. For those reasons the short stories should be fine.

If you must have a guided course, of the German ones I tried (Busuu, Duolingo, Mosalingua, Babbel), Babbel was by far the best, so that would be my choice. Then do the LingQ short stories! Just avoid Duo, it stinks.

But as someone said, the catch is the pronunciation which makes French hard to follow. And the spelling is strange, nowhere near as psychotic as English spelling, but worse then German, Spanish etc.

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I know the power of the mini-stories, but I doubt it will be enough for learning from scratch. But I see that many reccomend the mini-stories, so I’m going to give them a try.

There are a few fairly distinct stages, and the first is just to get to low intermediate, which the stories are basically enough to do in French. If you prefer dialogues to stories, Assimil is probably better anyway, but its expensive–although the meat of it I think someone already posted for free. The real challenge is getting from low intermediate to high intermediate/low advanced, but the point is that for such a closely related language as french you don’t need that much in the way of structured materials to get to that second stage.


@AlessioMichesi: here in LingQ you have an input based philosophy, which means that you need to read and listen to a lot of stuff and like magic, your brain will eventually figure out everything.

That said, I would add some flavour to it to help your mind to unlock the language that you are studying a bit faster.

I would use Youtube with someone in your language to explain the grammar/characteristic/structure of French. This is just to be done quickly to have an overview of the language.

I would definitely learn the alphabet and all its sounds.

Then keep reading and listening for a lot of time, build vocabulary, get familiar with the structure and when ready, read again a grammar step by step to start fixing some point here and there. Or watch a Youtube native speaker, this time, to learn the structure of the language and keep reading plus listening without stressing out too much about it.

From here you can progress with the level of difficulty you prefer.

Everything depends on your goals at the end, time available, language knowledge, your brain attitude and skills, etc. Build your learning experience around yourself.

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I know the power of the mini-stories, but I doubt it will be enough for learning from scratch.


I started with Barron’s French flashcards and song lyrics. Starting from scratch is starting from scratch.

There’s no magic to it beyond finding a place to start and starting.

What helped for me was I loved French music so much that I was pulled towards learning French.


There’s a French Assimil book uploaded to Linq. Highly recommended and really useful for someone starting “from scratch.” There are also the continuation Assimil books uploaded but after about 50 or so lessons (or even less) it’s better to go onto something like Inner French.


I can give you a few ideas. First off - do the mini stories - perhaps a few a day. LISTEN to them in the play mode as you do something else (cook, jog, travel). Aim to listen to each of these stories about 10 times each. Depending on your adventerousness -
Go to Wikipedia in English. Put in a subject you find interesting in English. Switch it to French. Import it to Lingq through the browser/app. Read some chunks of it.
If you have some phrases you find interesting or confusing, copy them, put them into www.youglish.com (change to French) and it will find you every subtitled video on Youtube with that phrase in it (or just keyword). Click through to youtube - make sure the subtitles are turned on and in French - import to Lingq.

Get Olly Richards Short Stories in French in paperback (lots of stuff in this series in French, including linkers etc) - get the app VFLAT (or google lens, not sure how that works?) and scan the pages. Import them to Lingq. Read away with these simple stories.

Get Aesops fables in French.

Get simplified nursery rhymes in French. Rinse and repeat until you´re ready for a novel (probably one you´ve read before).

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